Schedule Conflict

Sharon’s note: I’ve always likes superhero stories. I’m in the minority, but I hope the MCU never ends. I’m still happy there’s going to be a second season of Invincible. Warning: Bad guys in love.

  Flare peered down into the alley behind the bank. The Wrecker was standing at the fire door. Surprisingly, he was stretching. A good idea. A lot of strength-based supers tended to ignore little things like that. It was the main reason, without some kind of healing vector, they ended up retired and in major pain by their mid-forties. He wasn’t as bulked out as much as the average meat-head, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have plenty of muscles. They corded and bunched as he moved, beads of sweat appearing on his arms. . .  Interesting, but he was still trying to pull her job, and that would not stand.

  She floated down, hovering just above the roofline. Wrecker jerked when she cleared her throat. “Excuse me. Did we double book, or did you just randomly pick the worst possible day to heist this particular bank?”

  He blinked up at her, then frowned. He glanced at the security camera pointing down at him and took a step back out of its range. So he’d seen it, and had been flexing in front of it on purpose. “That depends. Did Red Tony hire you too?”

  Flare wobbled in the air. “Wait, what? I was joking. Are you telling me we actually got double booked?”

  “It looks like. He did seem rushed when he contacted me yesterday. I’d assumed someone had dropped out at the last second.” He glanced at his watch. Most people didn’t bother with them anymore, but in a profession that needed to keep time without being tracked, they were a necessity. Flare’s was gold with an orange and black leather band. “Look, I’d love to talk this out, but if I don’t do this now, I’m going to miss my window. How about we do this job together? We’ll straighten out the details later, then make Tony pay both of us.”

  “Oh, I like the way you think.” She lit on the ground next to him, and cupped her hand, letting it fill with molten fire. “It would be fun to put the heat to that annoying worm.”

  Wrecker’s eyes widened and he laughed. His smirk gave more of an impression of little boy mischief than hard-boiled criminality. “I do like a girl who’s a firecracker.”

  Flare giggled and rolled her eyes. “Uh, bad joke.” 

  “You started it.” He shrugged, and let his eyes move over her costume (only the finest skin tight, bulletproof polymer in safety orange and black) before snapping back to himself and nodding towards the door. “Would you like to do the honors?”

  “What, you aren’t going to offer to hold it for a lady?” She pouted and he snorted.

  “If you insist, but we’ve got to hustle. I’ve got this thing timed out. The cops should be here any second, and if we’re going to keep them busy for whatever Tony has planned, we need to have hostages when they arrive.” He kicked the brick next to the door. It crumbled, and the now useless metal slab swung open. With a little bow he offered for her to go first. As she walked past, he shouted to be heard over the sudden screeching alarm. “If you want, we can go out to dinner afterwards while we figure things out. My treat.”

  “Hell yes,” Flare hollered back. 

  Adrenaline flooded her body as she took to the air and soared into the bank, flame dripping from her hands and sizzling out on the floor. Citizens were screaming and running for the front door. She threw a fireball to herd them back towards the center of the room, setting the sprinklers off. Wrecker guarded the back hallways behind her. 

  Steam rose off Flare as she started to glow with heat. “Everyone get on the ground. This is a robbery!”

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